Monday February 25 2019
VAR-temio Franchi fireworks

A hugely entertaining Fiorentina 3-3 Inter gave Giancarlo Rinaldi all the elements of a classic Serie A thriller: goals, controversy and chaos.

In Florence, as in the Marx Brothers’ A Night At The Opera, there was no sanity clause. A goal after 16 seconds lit the touchpaper on an evening of technological fireworks. There were so many reviews required that it felt like the final whistle might not sound until way after midnight. And, at the end of it all, who had any clue if the result was a fair one?

The game highlighted, once again, the growing pains of the Video Assistant Referee. At the end of the evening, understandably it was Inter who will have felt the greatest pain after having come within moments of victory. To miss out through what only the most generous interpretation could have given as a penalty will have hurt even more.

Handball decisions in Italy were always borderline, but the last one of the night - unless they had another angle that we ordinary punters could not see - looked like it struck chest first. Self-preservation in light of previous incidents in the Stadio Artemio Franchi was no justification for conceding such a spot-kick.

Luciano Spalletti was raging at the points lost and carried on his tirade in his post-match interview. If the system was supposed to take the heat out of such situations, it has singularly failed to do so. If we knew there was work to be done to fine tune the way things operate before this encounter, it only became even clearer afterwards. VAR should be a great tool for avoiding glaring errors from the match officials, but it still doesn’t seem to be achieving this goal. To err is human, of course, but some mistakes - like Sunday night’s - should really be avoided.

The technology was involved in giving the green light to two goals which were extremely narrowly onside, in finding a penalty and confirming another one, and in disallowing a strike. Unfortunately, that overshadowed what was actually a very entertaining game - especially for anyone who had watched England’s goalless big matches earlier in the day. There was a lot of good for both sides to take from the match - and lessons to learn - if they wanted to.

The Nerazzurri - despite their well-publicised problems with Mauro Icardi or possibly because of them - are starting to look more like a team than they have for much of the season. There were spells when they broke with great style and looked a better unit than they have on many occasions. Another couple of points would have been helpful for their Champions League qualification hopes, but they still look like a top four side. Matteo Politano’s lovely strike was something to savour as well.

As for Fiorentina, they showed quite some spirit in the face of what they felt was a match which was conspiring against them. This has been a quality they have displayed for a while now and means they still have dreams of a Europa League spot. However, a Coppa Italia Final place might be a more realistic goal - although a feisty Atalanta side will have something to say about that. Luis Muriel’s thunderbolt free-kick was the gem of their performance.

But it will be VAR that takes the headlines from this game and the efforts that still need to be made to get it working quicker and better. Italy is a country where, even if God came down from Heaven to deliver the decisions, we could still argue about it. Nonetheless, a crazy Sunday night in Florence showed that something less than divine intervention is required to sort this out.

Common sense and cool heads could go a long way. Mind you, if we had those would we be Italian at all?

Have your say...
Calciopoli that inter created? hahahahahha you wrote 3 paragraphs for that. What a waste of time seeing that nobody cares. The ref was punished, move on. This also has nothing to do with juve, be silent and move on.
on the 27th February, 2019 at 3:01pm
@InterMan - evidence of Calciopoli? Seriously?? Inter are 20+ points off the top spot. 20, not 2!! If it's evidence of Calciopoli, it's that Inter wouldn't have won anything if it hadn't been for Calciopoli decimating the rival teams. The club is clueless and constructed no foundations after winning the CL. A flash in the pan. VAR is teething and hasn't helped anyone specifically; it's random. Inter will only grow if they own their problems instead of assigning them to others. Start with Icardi.
on the 27th February, 2019 at 12:22pm
How can a ref be so blind? How can a referee be so irresponsible? Nevermind VAR, there is still a toxicity to Italian Football,that still lingers.There is influence , do not kid yourselves.On Sunday we witnessed the impossible. Now how can anyone explain the reasoning behind such a decision? There is only one explanation, that Abisso had to make that call, that there were other factors pushing that call. In no way could a human being decide what he decided without influence of some kind. Period.
on the 27th February, 2019 at 5:49am
What happened on Sunday was undeniable proof of Calciopoli. It was unprecedented in because it involved VAR this time is all. Var was not the issue. The referee being conditioned was the issue. I thought I would never see it but it happened. Like the JFK assassination it happened for all the world to see. Ask yourselves, how is it possible that A) A penalty is given for a non-handball, B) THe play is reviewed for 3-4 minutes on Video replay, C) Something that did not exist is validated.
on the 27th February, 2019 at 5:45am
To all the so called "intelligent" fans on this site.. this was not a VAR related issue. What happened on Sunday was the same issue that happened in 1998. Referees in Serie A are inclined to make calls for certain teams. These "calls" are not clear cut. Could be a yellow card, could be a penalty. What happened on Sunday was something that was proven in 2006 and has again reared its ugly head. Referees in Serie A are conditioned and NEVER make these kinds of bad calls against CERTAIN teams.
on the 27th February, 2019 at 5:41am
Agree with your point.
on the 26th February, 2019 at 3:54pm
Have anyone who's complaining about refs ever refed a game? Most lower grass roots leagues need refs. See how you fair when you have the whistle to your lips.
on the 26th February, 2019 at 11:26am
Point taken. But your bad luck to Juve won't help Roma to play better. Do you think you could do top four this season?
on the 25th February, 2019 at 11:12pm
It's all Juve's fault, right inter fans? They must have paid the refs to ensure inter drop points against Fiorentina, Juve's biggest rivals.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 10:56pm
I loved calcio from about 2009 until 2017, watched loads of matches, took italian language classes, visited Inter, Lazio, Sassuolo, Cesena, Milan, Sampdoria, Cremonese matches etc.

But having watched Var at the world cup I now realise there is no point, because I can't enjoy the football or react to incidents in the knowledge that Var could intervene at any moment. Probably watched 60 mins total this season. (+ Juve buying Ronaldo for 100m while handfuls of Serie B clubs went bust didn't help)
on the 25th February, 2019 at 10:32pm
Where are all the #violaout tags today? It's only Juve who gets all the favoritism isn't it?

As for the penalty in this match, it wasn't there and Inter were robbed of 3 points. I still hate them though...
on the 25th February, 2019 at 10:25pm
People are misunderstanding how a VAR decision is made.

@Esper "His initial decision for the final penalty was an easy mistake to make, but to confirm it after VAR was ridiculous."

From the article "two goals which were extremely narrowly onside, in finding a penalty and confirming another one"

No, VAR did not confirm his decision on the field. VAR was used to determine whether there was a clear and obvious error to the decision made on the field. Two very different things.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 9:05pm
Got to laugh at Inter fans complaining about VAR, If it was used properly last season, Lazio would have taken their CL place.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 7:29pm
VAR has absolutely been a success in that far more correct decisions have been made than incorrect. There are still mistakes made, but that comes from refs viewing the screen and for some reason still making a mistake. I think refs need better training, better video footage and an understanding of the context of the foul/the fact things often look out of context in slow mo.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 7:29pm
This isnt the time to start pointing fingers. It was a bad call at 90+11 of ET. This game should've been finished, how did they let this get to the 12th minute of ET? Its going to be very difficult for inter to get top 4 with the form of chasing pack. However, some of the best team displays without Icardi that I've seen in a very very long time.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 3:23pm
for the sake of Italian clubs ranking in UEFA, I wish they could qualify but at the same time as Romanista, I wish them bad luck lol.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 2:46pm
That was an occasion when VAR was perhaps overused and of course there will still be controversy about the decisions in such an important match.
However, in general VAR has been a lot more successful in Italy than it has been when it was used in England so far. The refereeing level in EPL has been much poorer than in Serie A this season and the FA there decided not to have the video replay for the match referee to see for himself, so leaving it some anonymous ref in a remote studio to decide!
on the 25th February, 2019 at 2:32pm
So ref have to raise their game but Inter don't? Even with favourable calls Inter still blow it. The funniest one was the first leg against Rapid when Peresic stumbles over and takes out the defender, no foul only for another defender to commit a foul to concede a pen. Refs will never dispense perfect justice with or without VAR.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 12:44pm
I see your point but .... Juve's loss to Atletico means nothing yet. Let's see what happens after the second leg.
Remember last year's Juve vs Real second game.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 10:20am
It was a tough situation to judge. You know, I have a feeling that Inter are purely unlucky this season. It is not the first time they end up in a draw due to a last-minute controversy.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 10:18am
VAR is just a "tool" when the real decision lies on the referee(s). With controversies still linger in Serie A, don't talk about European glories for Italian clubs when even the so-called strongest team Rubentus suffered a defeat. It clearly shows that Italian teams are still behind La Liga, Premiership or even Bundesliga.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 8:03am
Yes, it was a bad call. But unless there are dozens of drones with cameras hovering around the pitch filming from every possible angle, mistakes will continue to be made. ... It was a shame to ruin such a great game.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 7:37am
In my opinion referees in Italy needs to raise their standard generally. The Head of ref in Italy needs to do more as the referee in this match showcase total lack of understanding in the game. He is simply not up to the task as a serie A ref and henceforth ref of this kind to be relegated to serie B.
Which replay on earth do need to show that wasn't a penalty it's obvious and very clear the hit his chest but yet he took that terrible decisions.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 6:45am
Why You talk about VAR and do not mention inter penalty!

Edimilson was pushed by inter player, ball was hiy by lautaro and changed direction 2 meters ahead. That penalty should have never been given!

On the cancelled biraghi goal, there is a foul on veretout that var did not check!

Do not write in a way that you are inter fan. All the interventions of the var were to help inter.

Forza viola
on the 25th February, 2019 at 6:02am
The ref felt VAR had been harsh on La Viola and it had been, but also fair. He tried to redress a balance that didn't need redressing. His initial decision for the final penalty was an easy mistake to make, but to confirm it after VAR was ridiculous. Stevie Wonder could have seen it hit D'Ambrosio's chest. The ref should be dropped from Serie A permanently as this is not a training issue for him it was mental feebleness.
on the 25th February, 2019 at 2:44am

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